Category Archives: Culture: Poetry

Where’s the Party?

Today is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Constantine Cavafy, and the 80th anniversary of the death of . . . Constantine Cavafy. I can think of many better ways to celebrate one’s 70th birthday than dying on it, … Continue reading

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Now What?

My Oxford Spanish Dictionary, third edition on CD-Rom, arrived today, 65% off in their Christmas sale. The first word I looked up, ‘navecilla’, was not in it. It must mean ‘little ship’, but it was disconcerting not being able to … Continue reading

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An Unfortunate Coincidence of Names

Prufrock Press “is the nation’s leading resource for gifted and talented children and gifted education programs”. I hope the name is not a literary allusion. Gifted and talented children have enough trouble with accusations of nerdliness and worse: they really … Continue reading

Posted in Culture: Poetry, Work: Teaching | 1 Comment

Quotation of the Day

Emily Dickinson at her coldest and clearest: The heart asks pleasure first, And then, excuse from pain; And then, those little anodynes That deaden suffering; And then, to go to sleep; And then, if it should be The will of … Continue reading

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Paradise Lost II

Notes from my reading of Book II: 1. Again the passage that most struck me was a classicizing bit, a simile describing Satan’s journey through Chaos (943-50): As when a Gryfon through the Wilderness With winged course ore Hill or … Continue reading

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Paradise Lost I

I started a new job two months ago, and now teach part-time at two different high schools. Oddly, I seem to have more spare time for reading now, partly because I have to get to work at the new school … Continue reading

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Quotation Of The Day: Ben Jonson

Vulgi expectatio Expectation of the Vulgar is more drawne, and held with newnesse, then goodnesse; wee see it in Fencers, in Players, in Poets, in Preachers, in all, where Fame promiseth any thing; so it be new, though never so … Continue reading

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Never Send A Machine To Do A Man’s Job

James Lileks finds some coded Latin on a website, but concludes that it must be gibberish, since the online Latin translator couldn’t handle it. That just shows how stupid machines are. It’s not quite classical Latin, but close enough to … Continue reading

Posted in Culture: Poetry, Orbilius | 1 Comment

Johnson On Housman

From Charles Johnston, Selected Poems (London, 1985): Footnote to Housman To reach the top flight as a poet you must write an unreadable work, so obscure that your friends will forgo it and all but the bravest will shirk. Then … Continue reading

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Variations on a Theme

The first two are well-known, but I’m particularly (perversely?) fond of the third. I ran across it years ago in a four-volume edition of Belloc’s verse, and have been looking for it ever since. The weblogger who calls herself The … Continue reading

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